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Tancredo forms panel to explore presidential run

Colorado GOP congressman would focus on immigration.

January 17, 2007|From the Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Colorado Republican Rep. Tom Tancredo, an outspoken opponent of illegal immigration, said Tuesday that he will form an exploratory committee this week for a possible presidential campaign.

After making a weekend trip to Iowa, home to the first nominating caucus in January 2008, Tancredo said voters there told him other presidential candidates don't share their views.

"They believe that there is a void in this race that none of the other candidates are willing or able to fill," said Tancredo, who plans to remain in the House.

Tancredo has said that immigration would be a central issue if he runs for office. Campaign spokesman Tim Haley said Tuesday that Tancredo would also push opposition to abortion and other conservative themes as well.

Haley said grass-roots leaders in Iowa told Tancredo they want a "true conservative" in the race to counter other potential GOP candidates, including Arizona Sen. John McCain, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, who are seen as moderates by some.

While in Iowa, Tancredo promoted his book, "In Mortal Danger," which warns about the need to secure U.S. borders.

Tancredo was partly testing the support among Iowa Republicans for McCain, who has proposed a guest worker program for illegal immigrants.

Tancredo and other anti-immigration activists have heavily criticized McCain as being too soft on immigration.

A bill McCain helped sponsor would have provided a path to citizenship for some of the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in the country. Tancredo advocates securing the border before creating a guest worker program.

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